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  Friday, 27 July, 2001, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
Swimming admits timing trouble
Pieter Van den Hoogenband
Van den Hoogenband thinks he has won 100m gold
The governing body of swimming is under increasing pressure after admitting that the automatic timing system at the world championships has failed on occasions.

American sprinter Anthony Ervin and Dutchman Pieter van den Hoogenband criticised Fina after their 100m final on Friday was the latest race to end in confusion.

Ervin clearly won the race but did not register a time and for three minutes the scoreboard showed Van den Hoogenband as the winner.

"It does cast doubts on the timing mechanism," Ervin said.

"They say it's 100% efficient but obviously it's not. There's a number of things that I don't think have been done totally right this meet."


The problem is that the touchpad is not stopping the clock if it is just lightly touched
Fina's
Michel Salles

Van den Hoogenband was equally upset at the problems with the electronic timing system.

"I take my sport very seriously, so I also take timing and organisation very seriously," said the Dutchman.

"It's a big disappointment when things like that happen."

Sam Ramsamy, president of Fina's press commission, acknowledged the problems.

"We have to state that, on occasions, the automatic system did fail," he said.

Ramsamy went on to suggest it was no surprise that losing teams were raising objections and denied there were doubts over the new world records that had been set.

"Categorically no, because none of the records have been disputed. We have no hidden agendas," said Ramsamy.

Anthony Ervin
Anthony Ervin celebrates a belated gold

"We try to be fair. We feel for the swimmers but we genuinely and honestly believe that no swim team has been prejudiced against by the adjustments made. Losers do complain."

USA swimming team director Dennis Pursley is prepared to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after Fina refused to review the decision to strip the women's 4x200m freestyle relay team of the gold medal.

"New information has come to light to indicate we should get a new hearing from Fina," said Pursley.

"If Fina does not agree, then our only other recourse is to take our case to CAS, which is a definite possibility."

Michel Salles, a member of Fina's technical committee, earlier admitted organisers were having "many, many" problems with the timing system.

"The problem is that the touchpad is not stopping the clock if it is just lightly touched," said Salles.


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